Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Render Unto Caesar

I just read the following article.

Scout's Honor--written By PETER ZUCKERMAN

In the article, the writer outlines a horrific account of how a young scout leader in Eastern Idaho got away with molesting 27 boys over several years, despite countless warnings that he was a pedophile.

The argument was that his Bishop vouched that he had taken proper steps towards recovery and that he was a returned missionary now.

If you want the full acount, read the article.

After reading the story, I began to ponder a sticking point I have within LDS communities, and perhaps all religious communities--although I can't pretend to know about others since my experience is pretty limited in that regard.

Too many times, we forget that spiritual crimes are also against the laws of the land. But within religious communities, we believe that by simply trying people within spiritual courts that justice has been served.  A man who has gone through a repentance process with his Bishop has certainly undergone a spiritual trial of sorts, but it does not excuse his obligation to face  his responsibilities as a citizen of the land, as well as a member of a church community.

Render unto Caesar... separation of church and state...

Justice must be served. The bishops job is to help the criminal to find peace, forgiveness and to change through the power of Christ.  While spiritually we believe that only God will judge his crimes and know his heart--I believe true repentance can only come after a person pays their debt to society by acknowledging their sins in court and paying for their crimes in order that justice in the land might be served.

So why is it that so many sexual offenders get such limited sentences?

This is one example.  I can think of several examples of similar instances where someone guilty of sexual abuse never paid for their crimes within the justice system.

So my soap box tonight is this: when a man or woman breaks a law of the land-- how can they possibly have repented of their crimes until they have paid their debt to society by admitting their actions in court and paying the price that the laws of the land demand?


Melanie said...

They can't. That bishop screwed up. Even if a previous bishop should have turned him in... depending on when he first confessed, any bishop that KNOWS someone has had an issue with pedophelia is an IDIOT to put him in a calling with children.

Once again, the gospel is true, but the people within it can be complete nimrods.

And I hope the parents of those children pressed charges against both the pedophile and the bishop.

Eve said...

Apparently, they put him back in jail after the court records were reopened. I guess my real issue is this: I'm tired of hearing about people going on missions or going to the temple after committing such grave offenses because they've repented. I don't believe that bishops should reveal confidences shared--but you'd think there would be a clause in the repentance process. You want forgiveness? Pay your debt to society.

Miss Heather said...

Yah... this happened with Irv... the bishop didn't report him to the police. I did... five years after he was caught... and he STILL didn't spend enough time in jail at all. It's horrible. It's something I've struggled with in my testimony of the gospel. I constantly remind myself that the church is perfect but the people aren't. It's the only way I function within the church after everything that happened to my family.

Eve said...

Uggh! There are so many instances where Bishops extend forgiveness to people when they haven't had a single day in court even. It's ridiculous. And wrong.